SCOTUS Pick Neil Gorsuch Calls Trump Comments on Judiciary 'Demoralizing' and 'Disheartening'

The SCOTUS nominee weighed in on Trump's comments about the judiciary.

ByABC News
February 8, 2017, 6:20 PM

— -- Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, called the president's comments on the judiciary "demoralizing" and "disheartening" during a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a spokesman for Gorsuch confirmed.

The spokesman did not say which of Trump's comments Gorsuch was referring to.

Trump has spoken out multiple times against a federal judge who blocked his immigration order in Washington state last week. Over the weekend, he panned Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” and blamed him for risking national security by issuing the temporary restraining order (which applied nationwide), calling it "a terrible decision."

Speaking to law enforcement leaders this morning, Trump suggested that the courts are acting politically. He also commented on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges who could decide whether to lift the restraining order on his travel ban. The three-judge panel heard oral arguments last night.

“I have to be honest that, if these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they do what they should be doing,” Trump said. “And I don't ever want to call a court biased, so I won't call it biased. And we haven't had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what's right.”

He went on to tweet this afternoon that there’s been a “big increase in traffic” into the United States from “certain areas,” seeming to suggest that the court’s ruling should be an “easy” decision.

Gorsuch’s meeting with Blumenthal was one of six he held with senators on Capitol Hill today.

In an interview, Blumenthal said Neil Gorsuch's answers to questions about Trump's comments on the judiciary left him unsatisfied.

"He found them to be disheartening and demoralizing. I think he needs to be far stronger, and tell the American public rather than state them to me as a senator," Blumenthal said.

The Connecticut Democrat says he still has "by no means reached a decision on his nomination" and said he pressed Gorsuch on whether he would respect Roe v. Wade.

"He declined to commit that he would continue to uphold any specific case," he said of Gorsuch.

Blumenthal said he expects these issues to come up again before the Judiciary Committee.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders and Jordyn Phelps contributed reporting to this report.

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